Uganda, which was once a leader in the fight against AIDS, is now struggling to continue the battle. Insufficient funds (“According to the Uganda AIDS Commission, the lifetime bill for treating one Ugandan AIDS patient, counting drugs, tests, and medical salaries, is $11,500.”), insufficient education, insufficient medical personnel, insuffient…everything. Despite cheaper, generic antiretrovirals becoming available earlier this decade, there are still not enough. “‘Family members…will often share one set of pills, an act of love that leads to disaster. Incomplete treatment means both will probably die, but may first develop drug-resistant AIDS and pass it on.'” Furthermore, the medications and treatment strategies are still considered too expensive; donors and world leaders have begun to shift their focus from AIDS to other diseases, such as malaria and diarrhea, that have much cheaper remedies, like mosquito nets and water filters. Read more from the NY Times.
These other diseases certainly deserve attention and need to be addressed, but this needs to happen IN ADDITION to combating AIDS, not instead of. Encourage your government representatives to support the Global HEALTH Act of 2010, which will assist developing countries in recruiting, training, and keeping qualified health care workers. (Check out the bill here.) Give to your favorite organization and make a direct; a friend of mine recommended this fantastic organization as one that is both reputable and brings real, tangible results. Talk to others and educate about this devastating disease and how much more needs to be done globally.